Well, it's been about 4 weeks since I had my EcoStar installed and it's still getting air in the filter basket.
If I run it at high speed, about 3200 rpm for 5 minutes or so, it will purge all the air. When I run it at the speeds I normally use, 2200 rpm for running the Pool Cleaner for a couple of hours and 1500 rpm for the rest of the day, the air pocket re-accumulates slowly and eventually empties the basket down to just below the top of the intake port. I let it go for a few day last week and it dropped to about halfway down the intake port. I never have any air bubbles going back into the pool and I only get air in the top of the filter when I purge the pump of air. At the slower speeds (1500 and 2200 rpm) there's not enough turbulence in the filter basket to draw the air into the pump itself so the air just collects in the strainer basket area.
I usually purge it every morning so it doesn't get too low by the end of the day, but I'm concerned that if we left for a weekend or longer that the pump might run dry, with the consequent problems that would bring, including burning out the pump seals. I'm not sure it does, but if the pump has a circuit that detects a loss of prime and shuts it down, then we'd have no circulation for an extended amount of time if we're on vacation or something.
I had it installed by Leslie's as free installation was included in the purchase in a sale they had at the time, and I watched the entire procedure. The tech did a good job cementing all the joints, using purple primer and blue PVC cement on all joints and I couldn't detect any signs of air or water leaks at any of the joints. Just to be sure, I brushed on an extra coating of blue PVC cement at each joint so that there was a small solid fillet all the way around the joint, as there were a couple of small areas where the glue was not extruded out of the original joint. I let it all dry for a couple of hours before I turned it back on. Unfortunately, nothing changed.
I then tried purging the pump and then setting the 3-way Jandy valve to draw only from the skimmer/main drain all day, and then the next day set it to draw only from the vacuum port all day. In both cases the air still re-accumulated within a couple of hours.
I had previously taken off the basket lid, removed the o-ring, cleaned and re-lubed it with silicon grease, made sure the mating surface on top of the pump basket was flat and clean and reassembled it. I also checked to make sure the intake and outflow unions were tight. No change, it still collects air. I'm going to disconnect the pump unions today to double check the union seals and make sure there's no problem there.
Yesterday, I had the Leslie's tech come back out to check the pump. He basically visually inspected all the joints and sealing surfaces, listened for any hissing or air leaks when the pump was shut down (didn't find any) and even backwashed the filter to make sure there was not any undue restriction to flow. Everything checked out OK. According to him, he says that some of the other techs have found the same problem with other EcoStar installs, and more or less said "a lot of them do it, that's just how they are." I wasn't too happy with that response, to say the least. He didn't have any answer to my question of where the air is coming from if all the joints are good. (Btw, all the pool plumbing is new as of 6 mos. ago and I didn't have any problem with my previous pump, a Pentair SuperFlo)
So anyhow, it looks like my next step is to contact Hayward and see if I can get an area rep out to look at the pump and try to get this taken care of.
I'm wondering if anyone else has an EcoStar installed and whether they've encountered this problem or if anyone can suggest anything else that I can check. I'd like to be able to perform a pressure test on the system from the skimmer to the outflow of the pump, but I don't have anything to do that with. Is there any company that can do this, and is it very expensive?
Thanks for any help you can provide,